Although we tend to think of injury claims as primarily being about negligence, some cases involve malicious acts. If you were at a nightclub or bar and were assaulted by a patron, there are a couple of arguments for how the establishment might be held liable. Let's look at what a personal injury lawyer would try to figure out before moving forward with a case against a bar or club.
The logic behind a negligent security claim is that the establishment in question had a recognizable obligation to protect patrons from assaults. Usually, this argument arises from places where fights, assaults, and other types of confrontations have occurred. In other words, we're talking about a profile that matches very closely with what happens at many places that serve alcohol.
As with other sorts of claims, a personal injury attorney needs to show that the management of the bar or club knew there was a persistent problem. Just as a landlord should fix a set of busted steps, a drinking establishment has an obligation to provide sufficient security to prevent violence from getting out of hand. Failing to protect patrons once it is clear there are persistent problems at a bar or club may be classified as a form of negligent security, which is a variant of premises liability.
Generally, a personal injury lawyer will have to document the history of problems at a location. Fortunately, the police and news outlets tend to do a very good job of documenting alcohol-fueled violence.
Negligent security arguments can extend to the quality of the staff, too. For example, having one frail, old person as the security at a heavily patronized bar would not be considered a reasonable remedy by most folks. Similarly, hiring people and providing them zero training might be seen as negligent.
Serving Someone Too Often
The second argument against an establishment is that it didn't cut the culprit off from alcohol soon enough. In this scenario, the logic is similar to how a bar or club might be held liable for a drunk driver causing an accident. By allowing a patron to keep drinking after they were visibly intoxicated, the establishment contributed to the conditions that led to the assault. Lawyers frequently look at things like phone videos, social media posts, and payment card records to show that servers kept providing alcohol to the assailant in the hours leading up to an incident.
If you were assaulted in a club or bar and think you deserve compensation, reach out to a personal injury attorney in your area.